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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Great game, great effort, tough luck - Dogs fall 5-3 to Vipers

You knew who the Officials were in this one before you even got to your seats, as the same Referee as the night before caught the Dogs for a minor penalty just 18 seconds into the game. The Bulldogs would kill it off, but the Vipers certainly controlled the momentum as they built up an early 5-0 lead in shots. The Dogs were unable to generate any sustained offensive attack throughout the early minutes of the game, with the Vipers continuing to push and eventually going up 1-0 when Thomas Aldworth stole the puck from the last Bulldog defender at centre ice and raced in alone down the left wing where he snapped a perfect top corner far-side shot over the glove of Christopoulos. The goal was un-assisted at 6:23 of the first. There would be a series of penalties near the midway point of the period when the Bulldogs earned their first power play of the game, only to then take a penalty just 16 seconds into the advantage on incidental contact in front of the Viper net. Vernon would take a 2-0 lead on a gorgeous goal by Riley Brandt as he walked down the right wing and in tight on the Bulldog goal before putting a perfectly placed shot top corner, short-side high on Christopoulos. Ken Citron picked up the only assist at the 13:48 mark of the first. The Bulldogs looked completely out of sorts, but battled back with several good shifts and sustained attack in the late moments of the period to test Jarrod Schamerhorn but they couldn't find the net as the Vipers took the 2-0 lead to the room after one with an 11-9 lead in shots.

The second period was much more evenly played through the first half, with each team having their share of chances but both goalies coming up big to keep it 2-0 through the Media Time out with just over eight minutes to play in the period and no penalties either way to speak of. It was quite fun to watch, and played at a high pace. Immediately after the time out, the Vipers would be penalized, and the Bulldogs made quick work of the advantage to get on the board and make it a 2-1 game as Kurt Gosselin walked the line to the right point before finding Scotty Clark in the deep slot where he put a quick shot on goal that was stopped by Schamerhorn. He couldn't control the rebound, although he did stop the first chance by Mitch Makin. Chris Schutz would get a second and third crack at it, and he managed to squeak it under Schamerhorn and over the line to make it 2-1 at 12:05 of the second. The Dogs would continue to attack, and made it a 2-2 game four minutes later as Zak Bowles dumped the puck in and the Dogs got in hard on the chase after it as Everett Putz finished his check and threw the puck out front where Troy Dobbs one timed one on goal that was stopped by Shamerhorn. The puck would bounce right onto the tape of Eric Margo, who one-timed it home into the open side to make it 2-2 at the 16:00 mark with Putz drawing the only assist. The Vipers would strike late in the period in controversial fashion as a pass to the crease went off the skate of Liam Coughin and in. Initially I thought it was just a lucky/unlucky bounce, but upon looking at the replay it looked like it was clearly kicked. The Referee was in perfect position to make the call (yes, the same one) and called it a goal with most of the Bulldogs on the ice immediately signalling that it was kicked in. The discussion as to whether it was a good goal or not was a very quick one, with the goal standing with Liam Coughlin getting credit for it from Thomas Aldworth and Ken Citron drawing the assists at 19:14 of the second period for a 3-2 Viper lead after 40 minutes, with the Dogs out shooting the Vipers 15-8 in the period and 24-19 after two.

The Bulldogs would be penalized early in the third period, but they would strike right off the draw to even it up while shorthanded as Mitch Makin worked the puck out of the zone for Justin Marreck who carried it over the Vipers line before sending Makin in on the breakaway where he went to the backhand and slipped it through the five hole of Schamerhorn to make it 3-3 at 6:34 of the third period with Marreck drawing the only assist. The Bulldogs would kill off the remainder of the penalty to keep it tied, but the Vipers would take their fourth lead of the game shortly afterwards with Liam Coughlin's second of the game coming in the form of a top of the crease deflection past Christopoulos with assists going to TJ Dumonceaux and Thomas Aldworth at 10:06 of the third period. The Bulldogs would push hard to get the equalizer but the Vipers defended well to protect the lead as it went into the final minute at 4-3 Vipers. The Bulldogs would call time out and pull their goalie for the extra attacker and created a glorious chance deep in the slot for Brett Stewart but Schamerhorn came up with a pad save on the one-timer with 10 seconds to play. TJ Dumonceaux would find the loose puck at centre ice and deposit it into the empty net at 19:57 for the 5-3 Final score.

Shots favoured the Bulldogs 37-24 with Billy Christopoulos taking the loss while Jarrod Schamerhorn picked up the win. The Dogs went 1 for 3 on the power play while the Vipers went 0 for 4.

The Bulldogs have one game left before the Christmas break as they host Powell River on Thursday.

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